IMPORTANT: In issues of oral health and dental care you should ensure your treatment, care, and support is provided by qualified and experienced health professionals. Check the register of the New Zealand Medical Council for Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons (OMS) (Click here) and the register of the Dental Council of New Zealand for dentists, and prosthodontists.(Click here) Ensure the right health professional with the rights skills, and expertise is providing advice and services for your safety, health and well being. Be aware that this advice from the Ministry of Health does not include OMS that are registered with the Dental Council ONLY.

After surgery and/or radiotherapy, many of us have problems with dry mouth and oral hygiene. 

It can be hard to clean the teeth adequately when you have trismus.

You know that feeling where you go for a walk in the cold wind and you breathe through your mouth. You're soon gagging for water. I've experienced a couple of occasions when I have forgotten my water bottle but have had gel or pastllles in my bag. I know these might not be a solution for people with very little salivary function but for the medium sufferer I can recommend the following. 

Oral Seven Moisturising Mouth Gel

Like all Oral 7 products, this is gentle, tastes good and is effective. I need to use more than the amount stated but it does give me relief for an hour or two. It stings less and tastes better than Xerostom gel. All these gel products make you hands sticky but the stickiness is worth it for the relief gained. 

Xerostom Pastilles


We were given these as samples for WHNCD and I duly tried them not thinking my bothersome mouth would tolerate a pastille. In fact, they worked quite well, didn't sting and gave me relief during a 1 1/2 hour walk. 

TePe Angled Interdental Brushes


We were also given samples of these by Smile Store. They are excellent. The angle makes them much easier to use on a trismus-affected mouth and I can clean between the teeth on my bad side from the front and from the back. I've lost teeth and the remaining teeth have moved closer together making perfect food traps. These brushes in colour-coded sizes are excellent for my purposes.

Tristar brands sells us Oral Seven products at cost while Smile Store who stock Xerostom and Te Pe products offer us a 5% discount. They have an excellent online store. 

Diana Ayling

Dental and Oral Care

Before treatment we advise you to review these resources. We know that head and neck cancer patients can have many dental and oral care issues. We provide resources:

Before Treatment

During Treatment

After Treatment